Statement by Aneeta Prem, MPA lead member, honour killings and force marriages
LONDON. April 3, 2008/3mnewswire.org/-- Responding to the IPCC report into the circumstances surrounding the so-called honour killing of Banaz Mahmod, Aneeta Prem, Metropolitan Police Authority lead member, honour killings and forced marriages, said:
"Banaz Mahmod's killing by members of her own family is a tragedy for all concerned and highlights the very real danger young Asian and other women can face if they fail to conform to traditional values and behaviour.
"The threat or act of violence against anyone is bad enough, but when disagreement over what is acceptable behaviour leads to murder we must do everything within our power to tackle the underlying issues and attitudes.
"Many young Asian women experience extreme pressure to conform to the expectations of their community and family against their own wishes, in what becomes a serious clash of cultures and beliefs.
"We need to do much more to tackle what I call dishonour killings in our society and in our communities. There is absolutely no honour in murdering a loved one over personal choice. Everyone is entitled to live his or her lives without fear of threat or intimidation.
"The victims, while predominantly women, are not always from South Asia - members of African, Middle Eastern and East European communities are also affected. The practice of killing, sexual abuse, kidnapping, mental torture and physical isolation is unacceptable in any society or religion and this needs to be condemned by community leaders.
"The belief that an individual can bring dishonour on a family by going against their wishes in respect of marriage should not be condoned. At the same time we need to enable young women to feel able to talk to a teacher or the police and ask for help and that the mechanisms are in place to offer support and in the most extreme cases a safe haven.
"The police, partners in the criminal justice system, local government and health agencies are determined to tackle the problem, but there needs to be a national commitment to ensure consistency of response and support across the country.
"We must always take the threat of violence seriously and intervene to prevent tragedies such as this happening. Banaz's death should serve as a wake-up call to all those who can and must make a difference. We owe her that much."